An easy way to use ArcticDEM data in UgCS


(image taken from

I would like to say a big thanks again to ArcticDEM project ( Using their elevation data it is possible to fly drones safely in parts of the globe not covered by "standard" sources of maps and elevation data. ArcticDEM covers a huge area north of 60°.

Look at this Google Earth view - a random point somewhere in Norway, with coordinates  69°45'31.73"N  19°52'0.85"E. According to Google data, the elevation here is ~335m.


Here is the same point in UgCS (without ArcticDEM)


Lets do 5 seconds of magic in UgCS:

  • Click on the Map options icon and select Map layers


  • Click on the Elevation tab, and then click Add



  • Make the new elevation data layer active, then close Map Layers window


That's all. Now in the same point we have an elevation of 352m.


It may not seem like a big difference (~17 meters), but even such a small error can be disastrous if you fly a route like that with a magnetometer attached to a rope.


It is totally worth spending those 5 extra seconds and have a bit more confidence...

In some areas I have observed a difference of up to tens meters (Greenland, Svabald, etc).

Very important: this online source of ArcticDEM data for UgCS was build using a 32m grid. It is enough for most missions and is much better compared with SRTM, but you should be careful in case of very low altitude flights.

Another important note: in same places ArcticDEM can have voids and processing artifacts, especially over water near the shore lines. So please check your routes carefully...

Safe flights,

UgCS team

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  • This URl is not for direct use in internet browser. It is programmatic API end point. Please use it as described in the post.

  • BTW

    "Enter something (ArcticDEM for example) in the Name field, select External in the Type field, paste to Remote Source, then click Create

    404 Not Found

    • Code: NoSuchKey
    • Message: The specified key does not exist.
    • Key: arctic_dem_32m
    • RequestId: E0E1B860E57A7BEF
    • HostId: gjL1F8A6ZQTYoaS5IPGH4v+NgO9Q1pFLLBxkWl32V9cfti8qvoeenIKGcAx+BP2wjpXWThcDp5I=
  • If you publish low quality, blurred imaginery by Google and high resolution by others

    you get many supporters claiming Google maps are not fit for any navigation.

    You are right.

    Local communities must pay for high resolution updates in local maps by Google.

  • UgCS doesn't have "own" maps, we provide possibility to use different map sources - Google, Bing, OSM, corporate GIS systems etc.

    In all these screenshots you see Google imagery actually.

  • follow-up

    "Hello, this post was about elevation data only. Not about map imagery. 

    Now sure how high resolution, highly reliable elevation data can be extracted if resource maps are of poor quality

  • ok, but some reasons you have mixed poor quality, low resolution  imaginery by Google Earth

    with better quality, higher resolution imaginery by UgCS.

    Could you rededit your post and insert the same quality, resolution imaginery for the same geolocation by 2 different systems ?

    You are right, quality of maps by Google is sometimes really poor, making us sick visiting Google Maps.

    Now sure how Arctic region is covered by high quality , high resolution imaginery, to let me study global warming, snow cover, climate change.

  • Hello, this post was about elevation data only. Not about map imagery. 

  • BTW

    In your presentation of elevation study you play with image resolutions.

    Could you set the same resolution for all images to let us verify the quality of input photogrammetry for the discussed region ?

  • Thank you Could you explain me why there is no snow at the North Pole, no snow in the Arctic Ocean vs.

    snowy South Pole

    I would like to study North Pole vs. South Pole vs. #climatechanges

This reply was deleted.